Your Digital Marketing Strategy Builds Trust in Your Brand

7 Ways to Build Brand Trust Through Marketing


Anyone with marketing in their blood dreams of developing a brand which would have the strong name and visual recognition the original Volkswagen Beetle has around the world.  Don’t we all want to build a brand that our customer’s trust?  Let’s examine seven ways you can solidify trust in your brand, and build a strong customer base.


Why is Brand Trust so Important?


Today we’re in a brand trust crisis.  This is because of an unprecedented drop in the trust customers place in the companies they deal with.  A study in 2018 by the Edelman Trust Barometer, found that only 48% of Americans trust businesses.  That’s a huge drop from the 58% brand trust posted the previous year.  Over the previous decade the downward spiral was an accelerating consumer trend.

This couldn’t be worse news for established brands.  Brand trust has been a pretty big deal when it comes to customer acquisition and loyalty.  In a recent study, PwC found that more than 30% of consumers said that other than price, they ranked ‘brand trust’ among their top three reasons they decide to shop at a particular retailer.


Competition has Never Been More Intense


A decade ago, the brand trust number among consumers would have been much higher.  Then, consumers didn’t have thousands of brands competing in the 24/7 web environment we have today. 

That was also before brands became more than simply merchants.  Brands have morphed today into our trusted sources of information.  Today consumers turn to brands to keep them up-to-date and informed.  This information may come through the brand’s blog content, social media interactions or YouTube channel.  

Today’s brands are having a 24/7 conversation with the consumer’s they are fighting to reach have purchase their product or service.  What are you doing to develop your brand trust and compete?


Todays Customer’s Are Demanding Proof


Before they reach a decision, today’s customers are demanding proof.  They have to have a solid reason to choose your brand over the others in your space.  A well known name alone is no longer enough to ensure a strong customer base.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at how Facebook has faltered. 

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, consumer confidence in Facebook plummeted.  The once unquestioned social media giant reported a 20% decrease in their stock value.  The growing distrust concerning “fake news,” has led to many wary would-be customers.  Today brands are rushing to prove they can live up to their promises. 

Since trust takes time to build, brands can no longer afford to wait for that trust to build organically.   Instead, brands must adopt a proactive strategy to more quickly develop trust among their customers. 


Developing Trust Begins With Your Value Proposition


Your value proposition defines who you are as a brand.   It communicates what your brand does for your customers.  If your Value Proposition concise, well developed, or understood by your audience, it’s impossible to build the customer relationships and brand trust which you require from the very beginning. 

An interesting study identifies two primary components of trust.  These are competency and benevolence.  Competence represents your brand’s ability to understand and deliver on your promises.  Benevolence represents how your intentions and motives beneficial to consumers are accepted by them. 

Both of these trust components should be embodied in your value proposition.  What matters most to your customers and how they should buy from you?  Despite the important role that value propositions play, it’s also critical that you optimize and apply your value proposition to every action you take. 


Your Value Proposition is Your First Promise


Your value proposition is the first promise you make to your customers.  You can’t break your promises.  Instead, put real effort into the creation and optimization of your value proposition.  

Think about the specific challenges your product or service is designed to meet.  How can you express that clearly and concisely to your target audience.


You Must Next Focus on Your Content 


Creating and promoting high-quality, relevant content isn’t a new marketing concept.  Using content to build trust is a newer focus for marketers.  Content can build trust in several ways.  

First, you need to establish yourself as a thoughtful leader and give your audience content that addresses their problems.  Your content must also offer them actual strategies and solutions to their problems.  Doing this will create confidence and establish you as a valuable and expert resource. 

Once your audience is convinced you do know what you’re talking about, they’ll feel more confident buying from your brand.  To achieve this, your content can’t come from a sales or promotional place.  Your content should always be designed to establish a dialogue or conversation between your brand and your audience.  It should never be “preachy in it’s approach.” 


Your Content Should Be Authentic and Educational


Your content needs to be authentic and educational, focused on helping the user.  It should not be about selling your product or services.  Content like this is incredibly effective at building consumer trust.  

A study released by Conductor found that 65% of consumers feel a brand is trustworthy after they read educational content from that brand.  The study also found that a week after reading a piece of educational content from a brand, there was a 9% increase in consumers who identified the brand as “trustworthy.” 

Incredibly, as time passed brand credibility actually increased from 65% to over 73%.


Your Content Creates Your Brand Identity


That’s the great thing content marketing does?  Your great content creates and solidifies your brand’s identity.  Today’s consumers want to know who you are as a brand.  They want to be able to recognize the faces and voices behind the brand.  

Do you know what’s the best way to be heard?  The best way for your brand to be heard is through your content.  Developing a consistent brand identity is crucial to building brand trust.  Your audience should easily be able to recognize you through your content.  That means you need to be creating messaging across all your channels that reinforces your core values. 

Ensure that your content checks all of the following boxes.  Does your content mirror your company’s core values?  Is your communication consistent?  Do all your channels sound like you?  Do your customers know what your values are?  How can you be sure that they know?


Return to the Basics and Embrace Authenticity


Do yo remember the early days of social media when it was just Facebook?  It was a simple time when actual conversations took place in the new and evolving text shorthand. 

Back then a few brands were the trailblazers.  Consumers and businesses discovered that using social media put the human back into the business conversation.  Social media has evolved, and brands continue to battle to be the “best.”  Then it meant including the most polished images and updates. 


Brands Lost Their Authenticity


As social media evolved, brands lost their authenticity in the transition.  The ‘human’ element disappeared from social media.  Instead companies focused on slick creatives and messaging and building a politically correct brand voice.  That’s not the message which resonates with people. 

Shorthand does.  A missed comma here or there does.  A video from your mobile phone as you’re suddenly hit with inspiration while on a grocery run does.  Consumers react positively to messages that are creative and authentic.  From the heart, often speaks stronger than from the brain.


Customer’s Want Brand Authenticity


A recent survey by Social Media Today revealed that 86% of people say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.  Additionally, 90% of Millennials say brand authenticity is important.  This demonstrates that younger consumers prefer ‘real and organic’ over ‘perfect and packaged’.

It’s all about telling your brand’s story.  Origin stories are all the rage now that we inhabit the Marvel universe.  People love to understand how something was born and how it’s grown.  That’s true too of your brand.  


Your Brand Identity Matters


Consider a well known brand like Ford.  The company is forever tied directly to it’s founder Henry Ford.  Ford has found success not just because it’s a solid car manufacturer, but because people relate to the all American story of the rise of Henry Ford and his vision. 

While your business may not have a lengthy history, share what you can.  Tell the story of how and why you started the business and the ups and downs along the way. 

You have to make your brand’s story human at it’s core, and your audience will feel more connected because of it. 


Social Media and Reviews Build Your Brand 


Imagine you’re planning to go out for dinner and looking for the best restaurants close to your home.  Would you choose the restaurant with a line of waiting customers?  Or would you choose the one with more empty tables than full?  Most likely you would choose the first. 

Even though it’s less convenient, you would choose that one because it’s level of business indicates that it’s a liked and quality place to eat.  We would call that social proof.  We view everything in a situation while comparing it to how we see others engaging with it.  

If we see a crowded restaurant with people lined up out the door, from the evidence we see, it’s a great restaurant.  The idea of social proof is all part of building your brand authenticity.  When it comes to content, 60% of consumers say that user generated content is the most authentic form of content.

That’s why social shares, reviews and likes have so much weight in establishing your brand trust and credibility.  If other people like your product or service, customer’s naturally assume that they will too.  Based on the evidence provided by your other customers.. 


Display Your Brand’s Social Proof


There are many ways that your brand can use social proof.  You could display follower counts, subscribers, fans, etc. on social media.  Collecting customer reviews and testimonials is another method.  User generated content, and working with an influencer can also be used build your social reputation. 

Collecting social proof might seem like an uphill battle, especially when you’re new.  Start small, with whatever you can.  Get certified in whatever provides authority for your niche.  If it’s Google Analytics, AdWords, etc. and display the badge prominently on your website. 

Look for and take some guest blogging opportunities.  Once you begin building momentum, you can begin to add some more prominent publications to your rotation.  Don’t forget to prominently display a “featured in” section on your homepage to highlight other notices, reviews or publications where you are mentioned.


Growing Social Proof Builds Brand Trust


Build up social proof to increase your brand trust.  Develop a strategy for collecting reviews built into your marketing plan from the beginning.  Statistics suggest that 61% of consumers read reviews before they complete a purchase.  People look for a reason to trust your brand, so make it easy for them to find. 

Include surveys with your emails to customers.  Ask them to return them, this allows you to learn why they chose your business.  To help make this easier, use software designed to automate the process for you.  Or you can reach out individually to loyal clients and ask them for a testimonial.


Embrace Values that Set You Apart 


When you think of major airlines that you actually like, what airline comes to mind?  I’ll bet that Southwest Airlines is at the top of most lists.  From their first day of operations, Southwest did things different than any other airline.  No assigned seating, low fares, and friendly, fun employees.  Even in 1967, Herb Kelleher was thinking outside the box when he founded Southwest.

Guess which airline, customers and the business world were talking about.  Yep, Southwest was in everyone’s conversations because they were doing everything differently.


Customer’s Embrace Doing Things Better


From their first day, customers loved Southwest’s radically different policies.  Southwest created their own path.   As other airlines were raising their prices, Southwest consistently offered lower fares.  I remember flying one way from Houston to Dallas for $19.  No other airline could match that.

And they did it without compromising their customer service.  All the other airlines assigned seating, Southwest let you choose your own.  When other airlines started charging for checked baggage, Southwest kept their bags free.  

This ability to defy the norm set them apart.  Their willingness to adopt policies benefiting their customers, often over their business, made their customers embrace them and trust them even more. 


The Message is Don’t be Afraid to be Different


The message behind the Southwest Airlines story?  Don’t be afraid to be different.  And don’t be afraid to do things just for your customers.  Give your customers value, don’t try to get it out of them.  So when every other restaurant is charging an extra dollar to add chicken to an entree, don’t. Or when every other company charges an initial fee, offer a free consultation.

Remember, little things go a long way in setting you apart from your competition.  Placing the value on your customers that they deserve will help make them your strong brand ambassadors.


Embrace HTTPS and Use Trust Badges


Consumer’s faith in the safety of their information is a big deal right now.  With data breaches and measures like the GDPR being enacted, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to make your users feel that their information is protected. 

Even if you’re only asking for an email, and especially if your site takes sensitive info like payment information, be overprepared.  The best thing you can do is make sure you’ve switched over to the HTTPS protocol.

Your customers expect it and it’s quickly becoming a requirement that your site must offer to your customers..


Your Customer’s Deserve Information Security


In a recent PwC Global Study, respondents were asked how they reduce the risk of online security issues and fraud.  57% said they only use credible and legitimate websites.  51% said that they choose providers they trust when making payments.  

Switching to HTTPS gives you the green secure lock in the URL field and your users the peace of mind that their data is safe if they use your site.


HTTPS Security Builds Brand Trust


Switch to HTTPS to build brand trust.  Do even more if you accept online payments, switch to HSTS.   You can also add trust seals to your site.   Trust Seals are proven to increase conversions, however it’s important to ensure that whatever you do it is proven to be safe and effective in the protection it provides. 

Once you’ve decided on a badge, it’s simply a process of choosing the plan you want, letting them authenticate your website, and installing the badge on your checkout page.


Be Transparent and Over-Deliver 


Bottom line, it’s important that you deliver what you promise.  If fact, deliver more than you promise.  This all starts with your value proposition.  Whatever benefits you promise?   Make sure you deliver them.  

That PPC ad you ran advertising a low-cost solution?  Deliver on your promise.  Send them straight to a dedicated landing page, and don’t make them hunt to find what was promised to them. 


Deliver More Than You Promise


If you promise in-person quarterly meetings, weekly phone calls, or daily updates. Deliver.  And don’t ever be misleading.  If you’re advertising a free product, don’t surprise your customers with hidden fees along the way.  

If you plan to increase your prices, give existing customers fair warning.  Explain your reasoning and their value to you as a customer.  Chances are, you’re dealing with adults.  Treat them like it and make sure they’re informed.  This is the transparency principle, and it’s big because your customer’s hate surprises.


Wrapping Up Brand Trust 


Be transparent with your customers to build your brand trust.  If something goes wrong, own it.  If you make a mistake, don’t dodge the issue.  Step up and own any errors you make, don’t try to lessen them.  Most of your customers understand that people make mistakes, they’re just expecting transparency and honesty.

Show them you are and explain what did or what could have gone wrong.  It’s not about making excuses.  It’s about honest answers to address legitimate concerns.


Customer’s Expect and Respect Honesty


Your customers will respect your honesty, and hopefully your attempts to right any wrongs.  There’s no denying the huge impact consumer trust can have on your business.  Make it a priority, and your customers will see and embrace the difference. 


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